In my constituency in Bareilly, I find cows being taken regularly and openly to Rampur to be killed illegally. I have organised squads of boys and they started catching the trucks. The cows were given to a local gaushala. This gaushala is on land given by the government and run by a committee of traders, lawyers and society bigwigs. They are given donations by the local market associations to look after the cows.
No one ever checks their work. One day, I asked the boys to check the health of the cows we had put into the gaushala. They did not find them. There were some milking cows in a shed. A sweeper told us that the animals were regularly sold to the butchers of Rampur, the people we were saving them from in the first place. There was no doctor, only a few people whose job was to milk the cows and distribute the milk to the traders. The money from the market association went into the pockets of the committee members, as did the thousands of rupees from the cow sale. These are good Hindus. The ones who have little mandirs (temples) at home, go to the Ramlilas and keep the Nauratra fasts. I was furious. I asked the District Magistrate (DM) to investigate. No registers of entries that include the slips of sale for food bought, milk taken out, salaries given were found. The place was filthy.
The DM ordered the committee to be removed and granted punishment after a formal investigation. They paid the Chief Veterinary Officer, who in any case would have given them a clean chit as he had never done his duty by going to the gaushala, to say that the cows had probably died − hundreds of them, and only the non-milking ones! The committee members approached the local MLA who asked to let them off as ‘everyone makes mistakes’. The DM surrendered to the pressure and said that the gaushala committee of Lucknow should take a decision. I had an official brought to the place. She was bribed and sent back and till today has not submitted a report.
These worthies are still there. Last week they again auctioned cows to the butchers. This time the woman officer from Lucknow was there to take her cut. The new DM stopped the auction and the woman fled and tried to use her husband’s media clout to stop her name from coming out. The committee took a delegation to the DM to try and threaten him into letting them continue to kill cows. The delegation was shamelessly led by an ex-MP of BJP along with the sitting MLA of the party. The DM has ordered an investigation.
This is the story of most of the gaushalas in India. One of the worst cases is the gaushala in Agra. I have films and photographs of dying cows, their eyes pecked by crows. None of the cows makes it beyond a week. The committee has made a marriage house on part of the land and rents it out.
The gaushala is an overcrowded prison for cows. The cows are kept out in heat and cold. They die of heat stroke or cold. The sheds are few and used for milking cows only.
Filth and the foul smell of rotting meat emanate from it. The committee pockets the money, takes the milk and the animals die due to lack of food, overcrowding and filth. There is a small enclosure for milking cows and the only job of two employees is to milk them and deliver it to the committee members. Repeated complaints to Agra’s Commissioner of Inspections have resulted in nothing because the head of the committee is the owner of the largest selling Hindi newspaper in Uttar Pradesh.
In some cases the gaushala is run by the administration itself as in Indore and the cows do not last more than 2 days. They are caught by the local municipal employees who drag them by their legs into tractors and throw them into the enclosure where they lie with broken legs till they die. There is no food or water as the man on the desk pockets the amount. The government gaushala in Jaipur during the BJP regime killed 33,000 cows before the press found out. No one has been penalised till date.
I have received many serious complaints about the Srikrushna Goshala in Jharsuguda, Orissa. The committee has sold part of the government land for a market complex and pocketed Rs. 78 lakhs, while some part has been made into a marriage hall. The cows are not given water and their feed is old. One day 87 cows died from eating fungus-infested fodder. Old cows which are supposed to be kept by the gaushala are thrown on to the roads or sold to butchers. In 2005 the gaushala was given Rs. 8.7 lakhs for making a cowshed. Till today the gaushala has no sheds and the cows are exposed to sun and rain.
From Kutch I have received a detailed list of irregularities on the hundreds of gaushalas dotting Gujarat. These gaushalas are supported by the state government and receive generous grants from Gujaratis all over the world.
Here are some of the points which I enumerate because the gaushala in your area probably does the same.
8 The gaushala refuses to take sick and disabled cows or to use an ambulance to rescue these.
8 The gaushala refuses to take buffaloes even though they are exactly the same as cows in giving milk etc. They refuse to take bulls or bullocks.
8 The institution will not keep registers of animals. If they are government aided they increase the number in order to get more grants. If they are unaided, they could not be bothered to record their animals.
8 Most sell animals supposedly to villagers but these are really middlemen for butchers .The gaushala people pretend that they do not know where the animal is going. No entries are made about the adopters. Money goes into their pockets.
8 No medical facilities are available. Most gaushalas just have a few attendants. If an animal collapses , it is left there till it dies. Some gaushalas use government vets who come when they have time.
8 No cleaning is done. If the cow dung is sold, it is picked up, otherwise the animals stand in their feces and urine leading to foot rot.
8 No proper food is given. No one knows how to mix dry hay and green fodder. The gaushala operates on whatever it gets free or least expensive. Thousands of animals die in agony of bloat. Much of the hay is fungus infested because it is kept for months in unclean godowns. Water is given sparingly and many die of thirst.
8 The gaushala is an overcrowded prison for cows. The cows are kept out in heat and cold. They die of heat stroke or cold. The sheds are few and used for milking cows only.
8 Most gaushalas convert part of the land given to them into commercial premises and misappropriate the money. That is why there is such competition to sit on a gaushala committee.
8 Many companies enter into deals with gaushalas and pretend to contribute vast sums to get the income tax deduction. Most of the money is then returned to the ‘donor’ with a small amount kept as transaction fee by the gaushala committee. Many institutions set up gaushalas simply to avoid taxes.
8 Gaushalas take agricultural land from the government to grow fodder for the cows. This is either not done or it is used for non-agricultural purposes
8 Many gaushalas have luxurious marbled living quarters used by the management or as guest houses. They are made out of donations.
8 Many gaushalas take their old cows out supposedly for grazing and then abandon them there. The cows wander into the fields or villages.
When I was a minister I made a law that no gaushala was allowed to milk cows. Milking cows would be put with motherless calves. But the gaushalas in Haryana are all large dairies with milking cows and missing calves, which means they have been sold to the butchers. There is a person from Haryana who goes from gaushala to gaushala and takes money to inject old cows with a mix of hormones which he guarantees will make them give milk again. Customers make a beeline for this.. n